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1978 Plymouth Trailduster, 440, 4wd, Auto & 1985 Dodge Ramcharger, 360, 4wd, 4spd
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Hey guys, new guy here.

A few months ago I went crazy and bought a 1985 Ramcharger off ebay (360, 4wd, 4spd) and then a few days ago I saw a 1978 Plymouth Trailduster for sale near me (440, 4wd, auto). I had the bug by then and I bought it figuring I will get rid of one. They both need some TLC and I'm not a mechanic so been doing some googling and ended up here. I was really just looking for a cool daily driver or maybe something to drive on weekends. On the list to do...on the 1985 it needs tires and try to tighten up the steering. The tires are cheap and drive like marshmellows. Mechanic said front end looks good, get new tires and let him try to tighten steering for me but I haven't done anything yet. I got hung up on whether to try to put a lift kit on it and then bigger tires or just go more stock (even though those aren't stock rims obviously). I hadn't driven a stick in a while...hahah...but it was like riding a bike. I'm 55 so I used to drive sticks on work trucks and my mustang but I forgot what a pain in the ass it can be. But that's just me.
On the Trailduster...when I drove it home...the list would be something like this...Carburetor feels like it's flooding when you get on it like it bogs down instead of go and exhaust manifold sounds like maybe it has a leak. Sounds like a helicopter sometimes? lol. Oh, and of course the steering is a little loose. Not so much that I didn't drive at speed but enough that you have to pay attention when it goes a little squirrelly. Oh, and I really wish I had a hardtop (I've looked a little and realize this may be difficult to come by). Oh, and AC doesn't work very well at all. On the 1985 either. They always say COLD AC but you know how that goes. Anyway, I always loved the Ramchargers and fantasized about having one when I was young but...well, 2 wives later, 3 kids, 4 or 5 houses and a career...oh well, maybe I can finally have a toy for me. Hahahah.

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I vote for the 78. Can't beat the convertible on a sunny day. That one looks like it has some pretty good bones to start with.
To tighten up the steering, just replace all the tie rods, centerlink, and idler arm. If it is still a little loose after that, check out the condition of the steering gear and rag joint. Take a look at the shocks and possibly the leaf spring bushings too.
 

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To tighten up the steering, just replace all the tie rods, centerlink, and idler arm. If it is still a little loose after that, check out the condition of the steering gear and rag joint

most steering problems can be traced right to the "steering coupler"





 

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Hey! Welcome aboard!
Nice finds.
Stay focused so you don't loose interest. Or just get lost. ;D
As far as the steering... what DodgeBoys said above.

Places like Flaming River... 1976-78 Dodge Ram (Power) Slip Shaft Kit
And Borgeson Borgeson Universal 000940 Borgeson Universal Telescoping Steering Shafts | Summit Racing...

They sell nice, way better than stock, steering shaft replacements.
They aren't the cheapest units out there. But well worth the cost. They are very heavy duty and will last forever.
Make sure you have the correct specs before you place your order. Many variables out there.

One way to check what's worn out... raise the front end up. Secure the vehicle with jack stands and blocks. Then have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth and look for slop in all the moving parts. A quick way to isolate the issues. You can inspect that steering shaft at the same time.
 
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